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Thiel vs. Trump Part 3 – The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

Okay, just a quick recap and then I’ll wrap this series up for now, since, due to circumstances beyond my control, parts three and four, which I’d already written, were erased and are now gone forever.

Unless they are on archive.org or in Google’s cache. Or hiding somewhere in my computer.

But anyways, to recap:

  • Thiel supports Trump.
  • Thiel made a successful power grab in the face of an ocean of opposing views – i.e., he was right & everyone else was wrong. Yet I feel like I’m the only one who sees his foresight as extremely significant. Everyone else remains hung up on the “Oh no you di’nt support Trump!” mentality.
  • Thiel believes in monopoly, or the centralization of power, as opposed to decentralization of power.
  • He believes that capitalism is good, though his definition of capitalism seems to be somewhat different from other people’s and that definition isn’t being made abundantly clear.

Here is Thiel’s speech at the National Press Club:

To reiterate, I think that, rather than lambasting Trump and lumping Thiel in with him … which is very easy to do and requires no critical thinking or foresight whatsoever … people need to pay attention to Thiel for a number of reasons.

The most poignant fact is that he is very smart and he was right when everybody else was wrong.

When you take that important fact into consideration, it seems like a good idea to pay very close attention to what he has to say…

And he has some very interesting and scary things to say about the world’s state of affairs.

Trump vs. Thiel Part 2 – Thiel and the Monopoly Mindset

chicago-1049976_1920Recently I wrote a post about why Thiel supports Trump.

That was before Trump’s numbers took a nosedive…

In that piece, I suggested that Thiel might want to bang on America’s governmental engine with a Trump-shaped hammer until it started working again. Also, I dropped hints that Thiel might want to become president or use “the little guy” Trump as a tool.

Over at Medium, Samuel Hammond wrote a much more thorough and informed article on the same topic.

Here are some highlights:

  • Hammond wrote that “Peter Thiel see’s [sic] a Trump presidency as his pathway to be become the shadow CEO of the United States of America.”
  • He quoted from Thiel’s startup lectures: “A startup is basically structured as a monarchy…the truth is that startups and founders lean toward the dictatorial side because that structure works better for startups.”
  • And from Thiel’s article, The Education of a Libertarian: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. … A better metaphor is that we are in a deadly race between politics and technology…Unlike the world of politics, in the world of technology the choices of individuals may still be paramount. The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.”
  • Hammond interprets the above passage to mean that “monarchy is the other meaning of Zero to One.

Hammond’s insight is in-depth and informed. Very much so. And he’s probably right about Thiel.

the-white-house-103927_1920Although he had plenty more to say – much of which is beyond the scope of my interest and my lexicon – the third quote above is what bothers me about Thiel’s perspective.

There, Thiel contrasts “the world of politics” and “the world of technology.”

These vague concepts need some serious clarification…

The term “world,” as he’s using it, is hardly scientific or linguistically specific. However, as he said in his essay, he seems to think that humans can escape politics “in all its forms.”

It appears that Thiel thinks technology can free us from politics … as if technology can free us from humans’ physiologically determined psychology and behavior.

Is It Possible for Mortals to Understand Thiel’s Political Views?

In his article, the aforementioned The Education of a Libertarian, he says that in order to escape politics, we must use “some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country; and for this reason I have focused my efforts on new technologies that may create a new space for freedom.”

thiel-trump-politics

Escape out to sea or out to outer space won’t change human psychology…

Personally, I don’t understand how we can try something new and undiscovered when human psychology, human behavior, and human history repeat themselves endlessly. How does he even define “new”? And how can we escape politics without changing humans’ fundamental psychology?

Perhaps we can use technology or government to force people to behave the way we want…?

I digress.

He goes on to claim that technology, outer space, and seasteading are three such means of escape.

As I was reading those paragraphs, I was thinking to myself, Great…another technological utopian.

Then, Thiel went on to conclude:

The future of technology is not pre-determined, and we must resist the temptation of technological utopianism — the notion that technology has a momentum or will of its own, that it will guarantee a more free future, and therefore that we can ignore the terrible arc of the political in our world.

Ultimately, Monopoly Cannot Defeat the “Arc of the Political”

Whatever the specific strange views of Thiel may turn out to be, he appears to think that monopoly is a good thing … as if you could end politics altogether through some other form of government, like a technocracy, or by ending politics and government completely by letting a benevolent AI run everything.

But I’m getting tired of trying to figure out Thiel’s way of thinking. I don’t even like politics. At first I thought he was just some eccentric tech visionary, like Musk, but now I’m not so sure.

chess-1145557_1920I get the feeling that, like Trump, he thinks that “he alone” can fix the world, and that he feels he’s above explaining the politics that he aggressively asserts onto the world – and if you tried to enter into a free and open discussion about politics or capitalism, he’d just try to checkmate you with logic that only he understands.

Anyways, here’s why he’s wrong:

Monopoly doesn’t encourage innovation, it discourages diversity and encourages overspecialization.

Overspecialization is a quintessential human trait that causes major, major problems.

Humans:

  • Cause the extinction of countless species
  • Reduce the variation of available foods on grocery store shelves
  • Replace “low-quality” search results with a tiny handful of corporate-owned sources
  • Build massive monopolistic businesses that suppress diversity and small business
  • Self-segregate into ethnic groups and nations

I’m sure you can figure out for yourself some of the consequences of these tendencies.

If not, I’ll leave you with this quote:

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable…all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialization, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability…In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.

    -Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics

Why Does Peter Thiel Support Donald Trump? Because He Wants to Save the World…

election-613132_1920So why does Peter Thiel support Donald Trump?

When I read headlines saying that Silicon Valley is baffled by his actions, I am baffled by their reactions.

It should be clear that there’s more going on here than meets the eye – though sometimes I wonder if Trump knows that…

Peter Thiel, for those of you who don’t know, is a brilliant billionaire tech tycoon who helped found PayPal and Palantir and who has his investment fingers in many other businesses.

As a tech-savvy, forward-thinking gay man – who has some unconventional ideas about technology, capitalism, economics, and the world we live in – he’s one of the last people you’d expect to see speaking in favor of a Trump presidency.

Yet that’s exactly what he did at the RNC, claiming that the economy and the government are “broken” and that he supports “people who are building new things.”

Donald Trump, he says, is a “builder…and it’s time to rebuild America.”

But…come on.

Donald Trump?

Really?

Donald Trump? That Guy?

man-845847_1280Trump openly:

After watching a BBC special pointing out that the USA’s demographics are shifting – and that white people will be a minority in a few decades – I felt that Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” might actually be a subliminal message, “Make America White Again.”

The New York Times came up with a better one: “Make America Hate Again.”

But I’ll try to avoid ranting about Trump.

Critical Thinking About the System

Attacking Trump’s rhetoric is easy and everyone does it.

That is too simple.

It feeds his flames and avoids more important questions that would uncover the machinery underlying the current system, like:

  • Why has a simple-minded salesperson – who simply repeats his target audience’s desires right back to them, like any good salesperson – become so successful financially (despite 4 bankruptcies) and made it this far in the electoral process, and what is it in his rhetoric that resonates with such a large demographic of Americans?
  • Why are we being forced to choose between a salesperson and someone who’s being legally accosted by the FBI right now?
  • Why do people regard him as a “marketing genius,” when in fact he has simply mastered the basics of salesmanship that have been expounded, extrapolated, and explored by great salesmen for the past 100 years?
  • Why does a smart, forward-thinking tech billionaire like Peter Thiel support Trump?

Why Peter Thiel Supports Trump (Take Nothing at Face Value)

chess-433071_1920Peter Thiel is a businessman who thinks strategically about his aims, so there is certainly more to his endorsement than we heard in his RNC speech.

There are a few possible reasons why Thiel might support Trump:

  • Thiel plans to replace Trump with an artificially intelligent, Trump-shaped robot after the election
  • He actually does believe in and support Trump
  • He sees this as an opportunity to take the administrative office from the political families who have been running the office for decades
  • He sees a dire situation, thinks Trump will win, and wants to influence the little guy when he gets into office
  • He wants to run for president in a few years and sees Trump as his best bet for changing and getting into the political game

I could only wish that this last one were true – we would be much better off with a smart “builder” like Thiel than anyone else who has run in a very, very long time. If this were the tech tycoon’s plan, then he’s probably setting himself up now as the rescuer who will fix up the country after Hillary or Donald inevitably make things worse during the next term.

But I doubt Thiel wants to be president (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Although, come to think of it, Mark Cuban, another famous billionaire who made big bucks in the tech industry, had said he’d been open to running for president…

Either Thiel plans to run for president in a few years (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) or…

Thiel Supports Trump Because He Thinks Trump Will Implode the Government, Which Will Make Room for Innovation … And a New Monopoly

gears-1236578_1920That’s pretty similar to what this guy at Business Insider said, but I can’t seem to find that article any more…

To find hints of Thiel’s real thinking, look past his RNC speech:

  • Thiel believes that innovation is driven by monopolistic companies, not by competition. According to Thiel, the ideas we use to discuss capitalism are based on models that are outdated and obsolete. Competitive businesses involve towards static equilibrium, and spend their money trying to outdo one another. They have no cash left over to innovate and create. A monopoly, however, is free to charge what it wants, then use those profits to drive innovation. Google is a perfect example of a monopoly in today’s economy. AT&T used to be one, as did IBM and Microsoft.
  • Innovation is at odds with competition and globalization…or they are at least perpendicular to one another. In one talk, Thiel used Japan as an example to demonstrate the difference between the two: since the time of the Meiji Restoration, the country has globalized but not innovated…that is, Japan copied the rest of the world. As a result, this island nation, which is smaller than California, has become a major world superpower. In the 80s, though, they ran out of stuff to copy and their previously explosive economic growth stagnated.
  • Technology and innovation are, for all intents and purposes, the same. Technology, he says, isn’t just limited to computers and software. This has been the most recent, most explosive area of innovation, in part due to the lack of regulation in this sector, which is a brand new industry. Other types of technology could also innovate and grow, but there are a variety of financial, regulatory, and other hurdles to overcome in those sectors – for instance, Elon Musk went to extreme lengths to overcome institutional, technical, regulatory, financial, and other obstacles in the preexisting aerospace industry in order to innovate with SpaceX. Not to mention Tesla.
  • Thiel runs Palantir, a secretive software company that tells the future. Well, fortune-telling may be a bit of a misnomer, but it does offer big data solutions that are used by big organizations, from governments to spy agencies to big name brands. Palantir is financially backed by the CIA and Thiel’s own venture capital company, among others. Supposedly, Palantir is valued at $20 billion and earned $1.7 billion in revenues in 2015. Some have suggested that Thiel’s support of Trump is a move to secure more government revenue for his company.

So how do all these bullet points apply to the topic at hand?

Many people look at a Trump presidency and see chaos…or worse.

Here are some quotes from a piece in the New Yorker, as quoted by a piece on Slate, written about the ghostwriter of Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal:

The prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered…[Schwartz said,] “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization”…asked what he would call [a new book about Trump], he answered, “The Sociopath.”

Is it really possible that Thiel supports someone like Trump?

Or is the tech tycoon playing a different game?

All Good Monopolies … And Competitions … Come to an End

chess-603624_1920As Thiel has pointed out, competition results in stasis and old monopolies are out-innovated by newer monopolies. Trump, a a simple-minded salesperson, has somehow co-opted the Republican party and the election process.

Perhaps his very presence on the electoral stage signals the obsolescence of an old monopoly?

For instance, AT&T was replaced by a diversity of wireless providers. Microsoft replaced the IBM monopoly, and Microsoft is in turn being replaced by newer, more innovative monopolies.

A businessperson, like Trump or Thiel, might feel that businesses and governments are analogous processes.

Eventually, any monopolistic governmental structure, electoral competition, or economic machinery will become outdated and obsolete.

Then it will become replaced by a newer, more evolved monopoly.

If Trump gets elected, it will result in – at the very least – more division, conflict, and controversy than we are seeing right now.

In other words, Trump could cause so much havoc that we would have to wake up and restructure the system.

This would make room for innovation and growth.

Heck, maybe there is only one way to make the broken governmental engine work again…

Start banging on it with a Trump-shaped hammer and hope the world doesn’t end in nuclear war.

Back to Phnom Penh and Beyond

When I got off the bus from Sihanoukville, it was Friday afternoon. I found some tuk tuk driver to take me to a hotel, where the staff told me I could go to nearby bars and get many ladies. You like weed? the guy asked me as he let me into my room. I got, no problem. You ask me. You smoke in room, no problem.

The room smelled like something died in the toilet, even after four sticks of incense.

For dinner I had lok lak for the first time, and a Cambodian sat across from me and ate hard-boiled eggs with chicken fetuses in them. I could see the little fetus parts dangling from his spoon as he scooped them from the shell into his mouth.

I told him I was considering teaching English out in Asia somewhere, and he said, Why don’t you teach in Cambodia? He told me about himself, said that he lived in Siem Reap for eight years and liked how peaceful it was, but Phnom Penh was better for work. He said his name, which I forgot, and then hopped on a motorbike with a couple cheerful Italians to go back to work.

Balcony overlooking street 172

Balcony overlooking street 172

On Saturday, I moved to a new hotel and read The Cambodia Daily from the second floor balcony while it poured rain. Most of my weekend would be spent on the balcony, and I would even sleep on the couch out there, since my beds crawled with bed bugs. The big news in The Cambodia Daily was about an upcoming political rally.

Cambodia recently had a national election for a new prime minister, since this country is a democracy, theoretically, but there has been a lot of evidence indicating the election was rigged. On Monday, August 26th, there is supposed to be a rally by the opposition party, which has some people worried about civil unrest and the potential for violence. Though the rally is intended to be peaceful,the US Embassy website makes a good point that “Demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence without warning.”

The Cambodian government has placed extreme and absurd restrictions on the rally, limiting the rally to two hours and the attendees to six thousand people, but as one local politician pointed out, how can you control the number of people that come?

Ten thousand are expected.

The government has stated that it is perfectly capable of crushing any violence from the opposition. Thousands of police in riot gear are trained and ready. The government has also been stockpiling weapons and machinery. Ten thousand guns and fifty thousand bullets from China, plus a bunch of heavy machinery like APCs and rocket launchers from other countries all arrived soon after the election. The ruling party insists the timing was “coincidental.”

Equally coincidental will be my timely return to Bangkok, since it is time to move on to the next phase of my travel plan: the job hunt.

 

A Little About the Cambodia Situation

Sometimes you see signs telling you not to buy from kids. If they're selling, they're not in school, which costs money here. Not buying from them is supposed to convince their parents to start paying for their school somehow?

Sometimes you see signs telling you not to buy from kids. If they’re selling, they’re not in school, which costs money here. Not buying from them is supposed to convince their parents to start paying for their school somehow? I suppose they want you to only support networks that ensure non-abuse of kids, but that would still never change abusive parents’ minds about making their kids work and would only leave the abused kids with less money and food.

All day long I sat and read Cambodia’s Curse, a modern history of this troubled land. For those who don’t know, here is a very brief history of Cambodia, to give some background to the current election situation, all of which I learned from that book in the past 24 hours.

In ancient times, peoples from the Indian sub-continent migrated to the Cambodian land and settled there. The ancestors of the Khmer would establish the Angkor empire, which would stretch far and wide and last longer than the Roman Empire. The Angkor Empire has been made famous by Angkor Wat, a true mega-monument to slave labor. In time, the Angkor Empire would fade, possibly due to its inability to sustain its population.

Flash forward, and the French colonize a weak Cambodia in the 1800s, then leave halfway through the 1900s, then Cambodia does its own thing until 1970, when there’s a coup, then some more military and political complications internally and with the Vietnamese, which is then followed by the Khmer Rouge taking over from 1975 to 1979. The Khmer Rouge cut off the country from the outside world and, among other horrible things, decimated a quarter of the country’s population. After the Vietnamese knock the Khmer Rouge out of power, Cambodia became socialist until the early nineties, then the UN steps in and spends three billion dollars to turn Cambodia into a democracy. There was an election, the UN backed out, and it’s been a train wreck of corruption ever since. Not that it was very pretty before that…

The same few people have been vying for control with zero concern for the people, who are still suffering from the residual trauma of the Khmer Rouge years. The current prime minister, Hun Sen, used to be a Khmer Rouge officer who defected to Vietnam when Pol Pot’s paranoia made him afraid for his life. After the Vietnamese deposed the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sen became a contender for political power. Through cunning and perseverance, not to mention mob tactics such as intimidation, harassment, censorship, and murder, which he still uses to this day, Hun Sen managed to climb to the top of the pyramid, where he funnels millions upon millions upon millions of dollars into his pocket from donor countries’ money every year.

The Cambodian government is rife with corruption, and despite receiving around a billion dollars in donations each year for the past few years and in the five hundred million range before that, Cambodia’s poverty and low quality of life statistics still put many other developing countries to shame. Cambodians suffer from starvation, lack of education, psychological problems, and a long list of ongoing horrors among the abused people, including vicious murders, torture, high rates of child rape, and all manner of crimes, which all remain unaddressed by the government and the numerous worthless NGOs that inhabit the country like flies. The country is beset by horrific abuse and dysfunction in all facets of life, from the society to the family to the psyche.

Read Cambodia’s Curse to find out the gruesome details.

 

PS – As of 8/27/13 the rally has been held peacefully and the opposition party promises to hold more demonstrations if their election concerns are not investigated.

Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think

So I asked this guy if Cambodia had a site like craigslist.

What’s a craigslist? he asked.

The guy was bald and had a British accent. He was seated at the bar of my hotel, drinking an Angkor beer and smoking a cigarette.

I told him what a craigslist was and said Thailand had one but not Cambodia.

Well it’s pretty primitive here, he said.

Stock picture of chair legs from Koh Samui, Thailand.

Chair legs from Koh Samui, Thailand

He was a dive instructor, and did repair on boats and air compressors and stuff and said he didn’t know anything about English teaching or teaching English. After a few minutes of back and forth, he proceeded to tell me how much he hated living here and how messed up this place was.

It used to be a French colony, and now most of these businesses are owned by the French, he said. They’re wanted in their own country. But here? That guy up the road, runs a French bakery restaurant whatever, hammered every morning. Smokes a spliff with breakfast. Khmer girlfriend. Baby on the way. Baby delivered, another one on the way. Hammered at breakfast. So he drives down the road and bam! Hits a motorbike, kills this one, injures that one, they shove him in jail. Takes thirty grand, bails himself out, pays off the cops, pays off the family, moves the business to another location, back in business.

The diver went on to explain how sick he was of his life here, the country, and the people, right in front of the bartender, but he had promised the business owner he’d stay on till March. He explained in gruesome detail how corrupt the government was, how money funneled into this town from tourism wasn’t being reinvested into the local infrastructure, how sewage went into the sea, how an island ripe for resort development already has green beaches that used to be white gold, how the power went out for three months until somebody got paid enough money somewhere to get it back on, how the mountains contained some chemical element useful for building nukes that was of interest to foreign powers, and how the tourism industry was stratified by income levels and age and so on.

When I could get a word in edgewise, I told him that the effects of tourism and a corrupt government were sad, but that tourism had helped fuel Thailand’s economy over the past few decades and the same could happen here. He pointed out that the culture, religion, and government had also played major a role in how that money was used. I said that the recent election in Cambodia indicated progress, so long as nothing disastrous happens.

And then the bar closed.

 

As I wandered into the depths of the hotel I considered the man’s perspective. The man’s tirade was pretty bitter, but he had some valid points. Those that live in this town obviously love it and can overlook the seediness and the corruption, but perhaps that is because they themselves are somewhat seedy and corrupt. I have noticed two predominant types of expats here: kids who party and drink and old people who party and drink. I definitely have some interesting stories from my short time here, but since I am not a seedy partying type, I am feeling the wanderlust take hold once more.

The diver said of expats here, Why would anyone live here? They wouldn’t. Unless they were getting paid good money. The wages are crap here. They’re getting paid European or American wages and living here, and then they’ll go back home with all that money.

I remember how just a few days ago I thought this place was the best thing since sliced bread. After all, there is something highly stimulating and energizing about the constant uber-flow of tourists and hypersocial activities. I had more conversations with strangers walking down the street here in thirty minutes than I would have in a week or more back in Tempe, or several months in Seattle. What most people consider to be social is just not when you compare it to a place like this. And this is the low season.

This morning I met an old Swedish guy — who doesn’t party or drink — who likes Cambodia more than any other country in southeast Asia, because the people are friendlier and more genuine than any other country he’s been to.

So what’s the verdict?

On the wall of my hotel is an advisory telling you not to take too much cash, to be careful of the smiling kids that may pickpocket you, to use the lockers, blah blah etc. It ends with, “Though most Khmer are honest and lovely people — one bad experience can spoil a whole beautiful holiday. We hope you will enjoy your stay in Cambodia and return home with only pleasant stories to tell.”

Day and Nightmares 3

IMG_0601

Some crabs at yuppie tourist haven Hin Hua

A Japanese guy on the overnight bus told me that everyone in Tohoku and Tokyo were “already finished” because of the Fukushima plant disaster. He said that it was actually a melt down, not a leak, like I had thought. The radioactive material had sunk several hundred meters underground already.

I didn’t believe him. What about the news, the governments, and so forth? I pursued the standard line of inquiry when trying to discern the crazy conspiracies of a few from the willful ignorance of the masses.

He said everyone turned a blind eye because if the severity of the situation became public, the world would stop trading with Japan, and their economy would collapse. He said something about companies like GM “not forgiving” Japan…for lying about it, perhaps? It was a big topic on social media.

People were already dying from cancer, he said, including his family members.

 

Since it has only been a couple years, most cancers in Japan have not progressed beyond stage two, so they had not been diagnosed, but in a couple years, most cancers would be too far advanced to miss. I couldn’t understand all of his Japanese, but he said this was worse than Chernobyl on some scale or another.

 

IMG_0596

Some boats in Hin Hua

The guy’s probably crazy, I thought.

I had disturbing dreams of a Japanese population being decimated slowly by radiation-induced cancer.

While we waited at a transfer station, a dilapidated building that looked like it had been through an apocalypse, he smoked three cigarettes and rolled one more. We watched a three-legged dog hop around the crumbling building while we talked. His girlfriend was one of twenty thousand who left Japan after Fukushima, he said. She now lived in Bangkok and worked at a call center for Sharp.

When we parted company at the next bus stop, he saw all the 420 stickers on my laptop, which I’d gotten at a festival because they were free, and gave me a ball of hash. He works in Nepal doing research on marijuana and hash oil, he said.

 

IMG_0605

This dog is missing its front left leg

Crazy guy.

Right?

I guess we’ll find out.

Another crowded bus and boat ride later, plus a short minivan trip, and I was finally at my quiet bungalow. I did some work online at the bungalow’s cafe, while staring at these buffalo or something you can see in the picture.

A statue at a roadside pit stop for tourists

A statue at a roadside pit stop for tourists

I had a very important article to submit within the next three hours. It was important because Textbroker itself was the client. This was a chance for me to get noticed!

While doing my fifth editing pass, I saw a giant dark cloud crouching on the hill.

“Does it rain a lot?” I asked the owner.

“Oh sometimes,” he said, “it will rain in the afternoon blah blah whatever,” and I went back to work.

A half a minute later he and the other ladies were running around the cafe pulling down these plastic storm wraps.

The storm knocked out all the power in the next minute, but fortunately a place down the block still had internet, so I used that to submit my article after the rain lightened up a bit.

 

A few minutes before a storm hit the cafe where I was working

A few minutes before a storm hit the cafe where I was working

Google Glass and the Future of the GUI


Google already has plans to evolve Google Glass into the Google iTick, a microscopic tick-shaped device that will be implanted directly onto your retina, feeding your optical input directly to Google so that it responds directly to your eye movements, pupil dilation, and other bodily signals. It gets power directly from your body heat, and it swells larger and larger — just like a tick — the more power it has.

Instead of saying, “Google, take a picture,” or “Google, record video,” you will just have to twitch your eyes in a certain direction to get Google to do what you want. This feature will first be tested out with Google Glass using retinal scanners embedded into the frames, and it will be called Google iTwitch, code-named Google iTweaker.

Just kidding…or am I?

To me, someone who still doesn’t have an iAnything and who doesn’t really want one, someone who would rather carry around a moleskin than jot story ideas into my smart phone, I am disturbed by the trendiness of isolation that is empowered by smart phones. And Google Glass takes that to an entirely new level. Down the road, of course, the internet will just become a layer superimposed on our everyday lives. The Net Layer, if you will, will become a GUI that insinuates itself through the doors of our perception. This will essentially be a pane of stained glass that’s supposed to make the world a better place, but, like stained or dirty glass, or a smart phone, it just increases the opacity of the doors of perception. This narrowing tunnel-vision-ing effect will gradually become unnoticeable.

In the space of my short life, I’ve seen old-style rotary telephones become replaced by smart phones that have all the capabilities of the supercomputers they can connect to. Kids are growing up with these things growing out of their hands, so it won’t be long before this Net Layer, in the form of Google Glass and its descendants, becomes an implanted facet of our lives, from the moment we are born.

We tend to view scientific and technological development as “progress,” yet this is not the case. It is merely the over-development of logical data-crunching, which then manifests itself through these gadgets. Hypertrophied calculators do not evolution make. Emotional, physical, and spiritual growth are left by the wayside, and centuries or millenia will go by before we realize the imbalance.

Well, with global warming, that time frame may be much smaller.

Anyways, I digress, sort of.

Sometimes I consider becoming a Luddite and moving to the middle of the woods somewhere and growing potatoes or whatever. I’ll have copper lining the walls of my cabin, a tin foil hat, and an EMP field to disable any electronic devices that enter into the sphere of my home.

It’ll be awesome.